During his weekly appearance on The Big Show Monday afternoon, Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said this year's team has mental toughness that he feels was lacking in previous seasons. New England can secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory in Foxboro against Buffalo on Sunday. Last year, the Pats earned the top seed as well, but were upset in the divisional round by the Jets.
"I think we have a different ball club [this season],” Wilfork said. “We can't look at last year or the year before. This ball club that I have now, is a tough football team and we haven't had that in years past. Whatever happens on the field, they will not shell, not panic, lose concentration or focus. I'm excited about this week getting started, and if I'm feeling this way, I'm pretty sure everyone else is because this team is an amazing team when it comes down to character.
“This team went through a lot this year, ups and downs, and no one pointed the figure,” he continued. “We all came in each week and said we have to get better, we have to improve. That's our game plan each week, we have to improve. After this, it's a one-game season. We have to put all of our eggs in one basket.”
Wilfork lauded the resilience and mental toughness put on display against the Dolphins this past weekend, something he said never waned.
“I never thought from the sideline we were going to lose the game [against Miami],” Wilfork said. “I never thought guys gave up. Never once this year have I thought that. This team is a classy team. Being down 17-0, a lot of teams would have packed it in. I looked around and didn't see panic, and didn't see anybody yelling at one another."
Although, later on, Wilfork admitted the team cannot afford to dig itself into holes and, this week against the Bills, must start trusting its preparation as the competition gets harder.
“[We have to] start fast and make plays early,” he said. “[Not] wait until we need a play or until we're down. [Sometimes] we see things but we don't trust. We don't trust our technique, film we watch and our instincts. At some point we have to trust ourselves to make plays. Sometimes you're going to have to take the ball away. Sometimes I feel like we're scared to make a play on the ball. When we do that we'll be happy with the outcome.
“The teams we're going to be playing, starting this week against Buffalo, are not slouches,” Wilfork said. “Buffalo has beaten us already this year and [after that] the teams that we're going to be playing are in the playoffs for a reason. We have to match the intensity starting this week. We can't wait until the postseason, it doesn't work that way.”
The three-time Pro Bowler said the Patriots have yet to play a “complete” game. “Not once have we played 60 minutes of complete football,” he said. “I want to see how that looks, to play a complete 60 minutes as the New England Patriots. We have yet to do it. We've played three quarters and 55 minutes, but we haven't played 60 minutes. It's a great time to start this week.”
Wilfork echoed Tom Brady's claim Monday morning on Dennis & Callahan that team improvement and performance are more important than seeding. “[A bye week is] not important,” Wilfork said. “A week off didn't do us justice [last season]. I don't care, I just want to be able to get better as a football team.”
For more Patriots news, go to the team page at weei.com/patriots.
-- RYAN HADFIELD
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Greg and Chris discuss where we are with Tom Brady's fight against the NFL in the Deflategate suspension.
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Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Joe Castiglione talked to the Sox lefty, who allowed one run in eight innings as the Sox beat the Angels at Fenway.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton speak to Red Sox Manager John Farrell live from Fenway Park for our weekly visit.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
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Rob Parker joined the show to rip Tom Brady.
Schill discussed the Sox latest struggles.
The guys spoke with Jeremy Schaap on FIFA's latest scandal.
ESPN Insider, Buster Olney, says the Red Sox are still his favorite to win the AL East, mainly because of how poorly the other teams are playing. He spoke about David Ortiz' struggles at the plate, and what will happen to Joe Kelly when Eduardo Rodriguez gets called up.
Rob Parker, of FanBuzz.com (formerly ESPN) wrote an open-letter to Tom Brady asking him to admit guilt, to apologize to Jim McNally and John Jastremski, and finally to ask for forgiveness from NFL fans. Parker joined the morning show to discuss his opinions. Lou, Christian and Tim broke down some of those comments.
The Sox are now 9-15 in the month of May, and are 8-21 when they allow the first run. David Ortiz was bumped down to 5th in the order as he continues to struggle at the plate.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton discuss yet another loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins, and how there may be no pulling out of this for the 2015 Red Sox.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton discuss the return of Lebron James, this time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, to the NBA finals, and what this does for his growing legacy.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed.
Mikey Adams and Chris Villani discuss the disappointing 21-26 start of the Boston Red Sox and who is most to blame. Also, caller Steve from Fall River sets Villani off with his DeflateGate take.
The definitive deflate gate song
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